Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay’s Metro moment marks longstanding partnership in Singapore
Representatives from the University of Birmingham and SMRT Corporation (SMRT) took to the urban rail network today to participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay in Singapore.
The Queen’s Baton will be going to all the countries taking part in the Games before finally reaching Birmingham, where the quadrennial Games will be held this year from 28 July to 8 August.
The University of Birmingham, one of the UK’s top universities for railway science and education, and SMRT, Singapore’s pioneer rail operator, have a longstanding partnership to train Singapore’s rail engineers and research partnerships that help to improve efficiency and reliability of the rail network.
Dr Samuel Chan, Group Director of Rail and Road Systems Engineering, at the Land Transport Authority, and SMRT engineer Goh Kai Xiang are alumni who have completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore), an educational partnership signed in 2016 between the university’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) and SMRT. The course professionalises students with knowledge from an institute of higher education for railway engineering as well as real-world operator experience.
Dr Chan and Mr Goh were the Queen’s Baton bearers on one leg of the relay in Singapore, signifying the close ties between the two cities. They took the Baton from Bayfront station on the Circle Line to Orchard station on the North-South Line via Marina Bay, as part of a global journey, of which the University is an official partner.
Dr Chan commented: “It is my great honour in representing the University of Birmingham at the 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay event in Singapore. This year is particularly meaningful to me as my connection with the renowned railway research group at Birmingham started exactly 40 years ago and kindled my lifelong passion in serving the railway industry. This relay reflects BCRRE’s continued global reach and meaningful partnership with Singapore.”
Mr Goh said: “It is a great honour for me to be a part of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Singapore. As an SMRT engineer and an alumnus of the programme developed by SMRT and the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, I am privileged to be in a position to contribute to the knowledge and technical expertise of rail systems to connect Singaporeans from all walks of life, and enhancing their lives.”
Five other Baton bearers had already carried the Baton to SIM* – the University’s partner campus – on the previous day, where it was welcomed by Alex Bamford, Deputy Head of Mission at the British High Commission Singapore, University of Birmingham representatives and some of the 600 students studying Birmingham business programmes at SIM.
Professor Clive Roberts, Director of BCRRE, commented: “We’re delighted to join our partners at SMRT to celebrate the Baton’s arrival in Singapore. We have been working together for a long time, both in research and rail engineer training. Some 300 rail engineers in Singapore now have a University of Birmingham qualification and all have used our digital rail simulation facilities as part of their training.”
Mr Lee Ling Wee, SMRT Corporation’s Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and President International, said: “SMRT’s collaboration with the University of Birmingham exemplifies our commitment to the deepening of rail engineering expertise, to better serve the many commuters in Singapore who travel in our network. Together with the authorities and institutes of higher learning, we are constantly building a steady pipeline of dedicated engineers for the local rail industry, such as Kai Xiang. We are proud to have him represent SMRT in the Queen’s Baton Relay in the MRT network.”
Speaking about the Baton’s presence in Singapore, Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birmingham, commented: “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook. Our Commonwealth connections are deep and wide-ranging, particularly in Singapore, where we have engaged for many decades in education and research partnerships.
“Sport is a unifying force and, as part of our commitment to supporting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we are holding a series of academic, student and partner events in Commonwealth countries to coincide with the Queen’s Baton Relay visit.
“I am delighted that we can hold these exciting events, focussing on how we work collaboratively with research and education partners in Singapore to tackle global challenges and help improve the quality of life for people throughout Singapore.”
The University’s environmental scientists have helped create a hi-tech ‘heart’ for the Queen’s Baton, which contains atmospheric sensors with laser technology that analyses the environmental conditions wherever it is in the world. Augmented Reality (AR) will be used to visualise creatively data captured throughout the journey to invite conversations around air quality across the Commonwealth.
Data collected on the Baton’s journey will contribute to ongoing research projects being conducted across the globe by a team led by atmospheric scientist Professor Francis Pope who said, “Atmospheric data captured during the Baton’s global journey will be highly valuable in starting important conversations around air quality across the Commonwealth.”